Top 10 Inquiry stories of 2015

Sparkling 2015

As 2015 winds to a close, Inquiry reminisces on a year of innovation and discovery at the University of Minnesota.

Led by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the blog set out in June 2014 to explore the impact of university research and tap into the collective knowledge of the U’s research community. Since then, it has delved into a number of fascinating and eye-opening subjects, from how wearable electronics can help treat brain disorders to how lions became social. And, along the way, it came across countless examples of how research can improve our health, protect our environment and change our society for the better.

Before Inquiry forges on into 2016, here’s a look back on the 10 most viewed stories from the past year.

Genetic_Engineering_Small10. Tiny technology to deliver big disease treatments

A team of researchers spanning many academic disciplines has set out to improve treatments for diseases through the use of DNA nanotechnology — microscopic structures that are built from DNA.

Collecting water samples9. Bacteria tapped for eco-friendly industrial cleanup

Biological scientists and business experts are collaborating to develop a new way for industries to identify eco-friendly solutions for cleaning contaminated water.

8. Industry, university deal moves novel cancer treatment forward

A U of M-patented drug delivery system has combined with therapies developed by the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to form a one-of-a-kind cancer therapy.

Helix_Small7. Nature Biotech ranks U in top 5 for life sciences tech transfer

Nature Biotech ranked the U’s Office for Technology Commercialization, which works with faculty researchers to bring cutting-edge research to the market, fifth overall in life sciences tech transfer.

Digital world6. Foundation will expand researcher’s spatial data software

A computer scientist’s first-of-its-kind spatial data software has been licensed by the Eclipse Foundation, an international organization that encourages commercially friendly software development that will develop it in new ways.

Connection nodes5. Convergence Colloquia: Cultivating serendipity for community action

A new series of multidisciplinary gatherings, the Convergence Colloquia, aim to advance cutting-edge research, develop innovative solutions and build long term partnerships that improve our world.

Bright Ideas4. Research leads to record 16 startups in FY15

From med-tech to ed-tech, researchers’ innovations led to a record 16 new startup companies in fiscal 2015, transforming the latest breakthroughs into solutions that improve our health, environment and quality of life.

Minnesota State Flag3. Report highlights strength of Minnesota’s academic research

A report comparing the research performance of states across the nation found that Minnesota publishes more research — and gets cited more  — than the national average.

Growing Seed2. Low-cost, eco-friendly fertilizers from bacteria

A team of scientists is working on a bacteria-based, sustainable alternative to ammonia fertilizers that curbs environmental side effects.

Aquaponics system1. Students lead research into emerging aquaponics industry

Students in a new aquaponics course are conducting research to inform an emerging industry on how best to sustainably grow plants and fish together.